Music has been an integral part of Priscilla Atwater’s life since childhood, so when divine inspiration struck late last year, it was only fitting that she’d share it in a song.
The idea for the 64-year-old Saxapahaw resident’s single, “Grateful,” came last December, when Atwater says the lyrics for the song “just dropped on me.” After rushing to brother Dennis Garner’s home, the siblings formed the tune on a piano, later recording in January.
Both Atwater and Garner come from a musical family, once led by father Fred and late mother Christine Moore Garner. At age 12, Atwater’s mother introduced her to the piano, which the pre-teen taught herself to play with the support of minister Loretta Tennon.
Meanwhile, four-year-old Dennis was building his skills on the guitar. The third Garner sibling, Edward, served as the band’s drummer. Around that time, in 1968, “The Garner Family” band played its largest venue, the Greensboro Coliseum.
Local churches remained the family’s regular audience, with the band traveling between congregations each week to perform.
Sunday attendance also served to strengthen the values and morals instilled in the three children by Christine, who devoted her time to evangelism in addition to her family.
“That’s the only way we know,” Atwater says, remembering her mother, who died in 2001 after a 30-year battle with cancer.
With “Grateful,” Atwater has now managed to teach a lesson of her own to listeners, recently telling The Alamance News, “I want them to remember that whatever is going on around them, always be grateful, because things can always be worse.
“People always look for the big things,” she adds, “but it’s the small things.”
Her own gratitude for the song, she says, centers on God, with the singer emphasizing, “He gets all the glory for it; He gets all the credit.”
Atwater, a graduate of Southern Alamance High School and Alamance Community College, was married to the late Roney Atwater and is a mother of one and grandmother of two.
“Grateful” is available at Keith’s CDs and Tapes and CRO-AAA Music in Burlington and on all digital streaming sites.